Apr 13, 2017

No valets, no problem for this parking app merger

Parking app SpotHero has acquired rival Parking Panda, the companies said on Thursday.

Winning model: On-demand parking apps that dispatch valets to pick up and drop off a customer's car became all the rage a few years ago, but Chicago-based SpotHero took another approach: Letting its customers find and book a parking spot ahead of time and park on their own, avoiding the high costs of employing valets.

The perils of managing and paying for labor is a lesson most of the on-demand valet startups have learned the hard way. Several have since shut down or moved away from selling to consumers, while Luxe, the last of the original valet apps, recently stopped operations in some cities and added less labor-intensive options, including self-serve parking.

The deal: The acquisition means that SpotHero will instantly expand to 20 new cities, including some in Canada, where it previously didn't operate. ParkingPanda also has deals with sporting and event venues, as well as some municipalities like Sacramento. There are no plans for layoffs, and it was an all-stock deal, SpotHero CEO Mark Lawrence told Axios.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to keep his momentum after winning New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hopes to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates are just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination are in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They're talking about health care, Russian interference in the election, the economy and race.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sanders to Putin: You won't interfere in any more elections if I'm president

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Sen. Bernie Sanders sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the debate stage Tuesday, stating, "If I'm president of the United States, trust me, you're not going to interfere in any more American elections."

The big picture: It was unveiled last week that Russia has been interfering to boost Sanders' campaigns in an apparent attempt to strengthen President Trump's bid for reelection. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that "Vladimir Putin thinks that Donald Trump should be president of the United States, and that's why Russia is helping [Sanders] get elected.

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